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Texas Matters: Rising Support For Anti-Democracy Miltiary Dictatorship

Two men look on at protestors in San Antonio on May 30.
Kathleen Creedon | Texas Public Radio
Two men look on at protestors in San Antonio on May 30.

This week federal law enforcement officers in riot gear fired rubber bullets and tear gas containers at protesters outside the White House. On the White House grounds President Donald Trump adopted a defiant stance while directing state governors to "dominate the streets" and warning if they didn’t he would deploy the United States Military and "solve the problem for them."

Trump is threatening the use of the 1807 Insurrection Act, which allows the president to deploy armed forces on American soil to put down civil disorder. In the nation’s history it’s been used about 20 times and in most cases at the request of a state governor – which has not happened during the recent protests.

But as with everything a president does, there is a political calculation to be made with calling out elements of the 82nd airborne division to Washington D.C. and having an Army Black Hawk helicopter hover over protesters for crowd control.

Some Americans may be horrified at the thought of using U.S. troops  to attack mostly peaceful protesters but there is evidence that shows there is a grown number of Americans who enthusiastically support a military dictatorship and the end of widespread traditional American democracy. And even more troubling is the connection between support for a military strongman ruling the nation and white identity politics.

This is the finding from the study – “White Outgroup Intolerance and Declining Support for American Democracy.”

The study authors are Steven Miller, a professor of political science at Clemson University and Nicholas Davis, a research scientist at the Public Policy Research Institute at Texas A&M University.

We spoke with Davis about the study and what it could mean for the future of American democracy and access to the ballot box today.

"Things You Would Know"

Sometimes unless you come from a specific place, you really can't know what it's like to live there, to understand its people and their quirks, the flora and fauna, and the changes in the weather.

In her debut novel Things You Would Know If you Grew Up Around Here, author Nancy Wayson Dinan writes about the Texas Hill Country in 2015 when a drought-ravaged Texas Hill Country was inundated by rain and flash floods that caused tremendous damage to the area.

These true details become the backdrop for a novel about Boyd, a teen who takes us through a journey to find a lost friend and helps us discover the importance of history and empathy.  Nancy Wayson Dinan spoke to Texas Public Radio contributor Yvette Benavides about the novel. 

David Martin Davies can be reached at DMDavies@TPR.org and on Twitter at @DavidMartinDavi.

Yvette Benavides is a writer and professor of creative writing at Our Lady of the Lake University.

David Martin Davies can be reached at dmdavies@tpr.org and on Twitter at @DavidMartinDavi